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Yamuna water quality worsening, shows UPPCB data

Noida: The condition of the Yamuna has worsened this year as the river enters Noida with no dissolved oxygen in it and exits the city even more polluted, shows data from the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB)
By Kushagra Dixit
PUBLISHED ON JUL 11, 2021 11:50 PM IST

Noida: The condition of the Yamuna has worsened this year as the river enters Noida with no dissolved oxygen in it and exits the city even more polluted, shows data from the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB).

As per the latest UPPCB report, Noida is the only city in Uttar Pradesh where the Yamuna falls under “E” category, that makes the river unfit for drinking even after conventional treatment and disinfection, bathing or survival of fish and other aquatic organisms.

While the UPPCB report does not mention the data for industrial effluents like amount of hard metals -- mercury, arsenic, lead, etc. -- the state pollution body has tested water on basic parameters -- dissolved oxygen (DO) and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) -- and found the pollution levels very high.

According to the data, in May 2021, the dissolved oxygen (DO) level of Yamuna was nil at Okhla barrage (from where the river enters Noida) and at Tilwada village (where it leaves the city), while the same in May 2020 was 7.4 milligrams per litre (mg/l) at the entry point and 2.8 mg/l at the exit. The minimum requirement of DO is 4 mg/l for category D (propagation of aquatic life) water and 6 mg/l for category A (drinking).

Similarly, the UPPCB report found the BOD levels for May 2021 to be 24 mg/l (entry) and 31.5 mg/l (exit), while the corresponding figures in May 2020 were 12 mg/l and 27mg/l. At the exit point, the BOD levels are over 10 times the permissible limits of up to 3 mg/l.

According to official figures, the length of the Yamuna in Delhi is 22 km while it is about 10 km in Noida.

Till May this year, January has been the only month when the river entered the city at Okhla barrage with some life in it with the DO value of 1.4 mg/l, which died at Tilwada where it meets even the more polluted Hindon. The two rivers support no aquatic life.

The officials blame “untapped sewage” from Shahdara drain that enters from Delhi for the poor condition of Yamuna, besides additional pollutants from Kondli drain and Hindon river.

“Shahdara drain from Delhi meets the Yamuna after Okhla barrage near Sector 15A. The drain is untapped and brings effluents that fall directly into the river. It is the major source of pollution. Besides, there is Kondli drain that also originates in Delhi, but work on its remediation is under process in Noida through engineered wetlands. Then Hindon water that is very polluted falls in the Yamuna. The pollutants in the source drains vary from time to time,” said Praveen Kumar, regional officer, UPPCB, Noida.

According to environmentalists, honest efforts are missing to revive the Yamuna in the NCR.

“Shahdara drain is one of the major sources of pollution. There are no honest efforts to clean the Yamuna in Delhi where a number of untapped sewage is being discharged into it. At the same time, there are sources of pollution in Noida also. Hindon river is one of the major sources and nothing is being done by the authorities,” said Vikrant Tongad, a city-based environmentalist.

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